I know that struggling writers can become competent writers because I see it happen all the time. The key is to start where the student is, reinforcing and building on skills gradually, using a fully customized teaching approach.
Most of all, I love writing! And I try to instill a love of writing among students, as well, because ultimately that leads to lifelong learning.
My instructional method is based on the Writing Workshop Method, which focuses on the writing process, not the final product. This gives students the freedom to experiment while learning about prewriting, writing, revising, and editing. Eventually, students can manage the entire writing process themselves.
Despite an emphasis on process, my tutoring sessions also include brief direct instruction on specific skills. These “mini lessons” are carefully calibrated to meet the individual needs of each student, while gradually building toward the writing standards for the course or grade level.
Finally, tutoring sessions include plenty of time to read aloud and share work, so students begin to experience the power of their own unique voice as a writer.
What to Expect
Typically, before we start tutoring, we have a meeting that includes:
- An initial evaluation to identify skills and challenges
- Friendly discussion about goals
- Parent and student input to finalize an instructional plan
Tutoring sessions typically include:
- Mini-lessons to focus on a particular skill or concept
- Time for the full writing cycle to apply skills and develop good habits
- Or in-depth skill building, based on a school assignment or special project
- Creation of checklists to support independent work
Tutoring may also include:
- Periodic writing reassessments to track progress
- Review and reinforcement of strategies that work for the student
- Opportunities for students to celebrate their achievements
Homework vs Skills
Tutoring should never become an extra burden! For a student who already faces a lot of homework, my goal is to support their regular writing assignments, while helping them build towards new competencies.
Coaching, Not Correcting
I never directly edit students’ work. That means that I do not mark up papers in red ink or revise student work online.
Instead, I help students develop the skills and resources they need to become independent writers, so they can fix their writing issues themselves.